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I have a thing for clothes. Let’s not call it an obsession, but okay…FINE.
I love colors and shoes and 1950s clip earrings and vintage skirts and Anthropologie tops (sale rack only). I like the thrill of the hunt while thrifting. I like the endless, myriad combinations of jewelry and clothing. I like the performative possibility of one day dressing like a grown-ass lady–hello, pant suit–and the next like a teenager (I’m lookin’ at you, Forever 21 teal lace dress).
I try to keep it chill, don’t worry. We’re talking thrift stores, not Nordstrom. Actually, I can’t even allow myself to walk into a Nordstrom these days–be still my beating heart–because all good sense and restraint will flee and I’ll walk outta there with, like, twelve dresses and twenty-seven pairs of shoes. Mmmmm, SHOOOOOZ.
I was shopping with a friend the other day and in the midst of our girlie fun she turned to me, very serious, and said, “I need to tell you that I’m taking a break from Christianity for a while. I need to deal with some resentments about church.”
“Yeah, I get it. Sometimes you need to break up with God for a bit, or for a very long time.”
“Yeah,” she sighed.
It’s a tricky thing–breaking up with God in a way that isn’t spiritually self-destructive. When our normal sources of spiritual nourishment just aren’t feeding us anymore, where do we go instead?
A basic principle I’ve been trying to follow these days is to go where I feel alive, where I feel my thirst being quenched. When Jesus meets the Samaritan woman, he meets her at the well, just doing her daily tasks. My friend and I discuss what might function as a well for her right now–the club? Movie theaters? The beach? The mountains?
“You know, I think shopping is a well for me. It feels social and healing to me these days–like church when it was good for me. Fellowship, as it were.”
“Cool. So go there. Go to that well. You don’t have to worry about whether Jesus will find you or not–that’s not your job–just go to your well.”
We laugh and decide we need “Shopping with Jesus” t-shirts.
But really? Why not?
Church can be everywhere, anywhere. If we look for Christ in the faces around us–even at the mall, the thrift store, the upscale consignment shop, the shoe outlet, the dress barn–we’ll no doubt find him.
Because he’s already at the well…waiting for us.
Sarina Gruver Moore teaches English literature and writing at Grove City College in Pennsylvania.